A Study in the Scriptures

"How will we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?"
Deuteronomy 18:21

From The Holy Spirit: Gifts & Ministries, by Diane S. Dew, © copyright 1976, 1998

I.  Not every prophecy is of God (I Kings 13:18), "because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Jeremiah 28:11, 15-17; Matthew 24:11, 24 (Mark 13:22); Luke 6:26; Acts 13:6; 2 Peter 2:1; I John 4:1-3; Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10
A.  "They speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They ... have perverted the words of the living God." Jeremiah 23:16, 36
B.  They are not ordained of God, but are self-appointed. Jeremiah 14:14-15; 23:16-17, 21 ("I sent them not"); Ezekiel 13:6; Revelation 2:20


C. They may be speaking under the influence of a lying spirit (2 Chronicles 18:21), or presumptuously (Deuteronomy 18:20), from "the deceit of their own heart." Jeremiah 14:14; 23:16, 17, 21, 26; Ezekiel 13:17
D. They speak lies (Jeremiah 23:25, 26, 32; 20:6; 29:31; Isaiah 9:15; Micah 2:11; Zechariah 13:3), and in the name of the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:20; Jeremiah 14:14, 15; 23:25; Matthew 7:22).
E. They speak soothing words to those in spiritual darkness and give false security to those who deserve rebuke. Jeremiah 23:16-17; Lamentations 2:14; Luke 6:26; John 15:19
F. Sometimes they are even hired to do their work! Nehemiah 6:12, 13; Micah 3:11
G. Their punishment under the law was death. Deuteronomy 13:5; 18:20; Jeremiah 28:15-17; 29:31-32; Zechariah 13:3

II.   How can we distinguish the true from the false?
A. Any ministry that does not exalt Jesus (Revelation 19:10) and His Lordship (Mark 9:39; I Corinthians 12:3; I John 4:1-3) is not God-ordained.
B. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:15-20
C. No true prophecy will contradict the written Word of God. Isaiah 8:20
D. It must agree with the previously spoken and revealed will of God. I Kings 13
E. A prophet is recognized as true when the word he has spoken comes to pass. If it doesn't, it was not the word of the Lord. Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:21-22; Jeremiah 28:9
F. The source of a ministry cannot be determined merely by signs of the miraculous (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). Satan can perform lying signs and wonders. Exodus 7:11; 8:17-19; 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 11, 12; Revelation 13:13, 14
G. If the person entices people to follow after another God (Revelation 13:1-5), or speaks of another Savior, another Spirit, or another gospel, he is not sent by God (2 Corinthians 11:4).

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